Chi­nese firms have ‘big en­thu­si­asm’ to in­vest in Philip­pines

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS -

A BEI­JING trade of­fi­cial said Tues­day that Chi­nese com­pa­nies have “very big” en­thu­si­asm about in­vest­ing in rail­ways and air­ports and other ma­jor in­fras­truc­ture projects in the Philip­pines, and his gov­ern­ment will en­cour­age them to build an in­dus­trial park.

Wu Zheng­ping of China’s Min­istry of Com­merce said the two coun­tries have agreed to hold a meet­ing of a joint trade and eco­nomic com­mis­sion early next year and sign a six-year plan to boost trade and in­vest­ment.

Wu told a news con­fer­ence the joint trade com­mis­sion has not met for five years.

A ter­ri­to­rial con­flict be­tween China and the Philip­pines wors­ened dur­ing that pe­riod, but re­la­tions have started to im­prove af­ter Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte took of­fice in June and reached out to China while tak­ing an an­tag­o­nis­tic stance to­wards treaty ally the United States.

Duterte made a state visit last month to China, where he an­nounced he would be sep­a­rat­ing from the United States.

Philip­pine Cabi­net of­fi­cials later walked back on his stun­ning pro­nounce­ment, say­ing Duterte meant he wanted to chart a for­eign pol­icy that is not closely ori­ented to­wards Wash­ing­ton.

“Af­ter the suc­cess­ful and his­toric visit of the pres­i­dent to China, there has been en­thu­si­asm from the Chi­nese com­pa­nies,” Wu said. He said he met Philip­pine trade, trans­port and eco­nomic plan­ning of­fi­cials dur­ing his visit to Manila.

Asked for an es­ti­mate of prospec­tive Chi­nese in­vest­ment, Wu said, “I think the en­thu­si­asm and sin­cer­ity of the Chi­nese com­pa­nies are very big.”

He said Chi­nese com­pa­nies are look­ing at in­vest­ing in air­ports, rail­ways, ex­press­ways and sea­ports, and would wait for the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment to out­line the in­fras­truc­ture projects the coun­try needs most.

While cam­paign­ing for elec­tion ear­lier this year, Duterte said he would “shut up”, ap­par­ently in ref­er­ence to his coun­try’s ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with Bei­jing, if China builds rail­ways in the south, where he served many years as a mayor, and fi­nances other trans­porta­tion projects.

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